Compassionate help for your loved one.

When a loved one is no longer able to make health care or financial decisions, the court may appoint someone to act as their guardian (to protect their health and well-being) and/or conservator (to protect and conserve assets) to make these decisions on their behalf. Most guardianships and conservatorships protect elderly people or people with severe mental health or cognitive disabilities. Minor children sometimes need a guardian or conservator to ensure their rights are protected.


A guardianship or conservatorship is a legal proceeding where a court appoints someone to protect a person who is incapacitated and in need of protection. Oftentimes guardianships and conservatorships are requested at the same time.

A guardian is appointed to protect an incapacitated person, and a conservator is appointed to protect their assets. The guardian and conservator can be the same person or different people. A guardianship or conservatorship can be a temporary or permanent arrangement.

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Elderly adults in assisted living, nursing, or group homes

Adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

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Special needs adults and children

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Disabled adults and children

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Minor children

Flinn Law Northwest helps clients determine the best way to legally protect their loved one’s interests. We can assess the circumstances surrounding your case and advise you on the best course of action to ensure your loved one receives the care and protection they need.


When someone cannot make reasonable decisions regarding their health and safety, a guardianship is often an effective solution to safeguard their well-being. A guardian is a person who is appointed by the court to make personal and health care decisions for a minor or incapacitated person, including what type of medical treatment they receive and where they live.

The court considers the information in the petition, such as facts and opinions, provided by doctors and other professionals, family, and friends. The court appoints a visitor who interviews those involved in the guardianship proceeding and reports their findings to the court. This report is a crucial piece of evidence for determining whether an individual has the capacity and, ultimately, whether a guardian is appointed.

Oregon law requires that notice be given to certain family members, such as a spouse, parents, and adult children, of the proposed protected person or minor (respondent). The notice must also be personally served to respondents unless they are under 14 years of age. A respondent has the right to object to having a guardian appointed for them, request a hearing, and retain an attorney.

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Incapacitation and Guardianship

Incapacitation is defined as “a condition in which a person’s ability to receive and evaluate information effectively or make decisions is impaired to such an extent that they cannot meet essential requirements for their physical health or safety.” Essential requirements for health and safety can include food, shelter, clothing, and health care. A guardian is appointed to ensure these vital needs are met.

Deciding someone’s capacity is challenging. Until a person is deemed legally incapacitated by a court, they retain all their rights and privileges to make decisions on their own behalf, even if those decisions are damaging to their health and security.

If you are considering petitioning the court for guardianship, it is critical to contact us to discuss the facts and circumstances involving the person who needs protection.


The main difference between guardianships and conservatorships is that conservatorships deal only with the management of assets and income. A conservator is appointed by the court to manage a minor or incapacitated person’s financial affairs and assets. A conservator does not make decisions regarding health care or living situations.

A conservatorship is required when a person lacks the capacity to make adequate decisions regarding their income, assets, or other financial matters. This determination is made by the court.

Making the determination of whether someone is economically incapable can be difficult. Unreasonable spending, bouncing a check, or occasionally overdrafting an account are not, on their own, sufficient reasons to warrant the appointment of a conservator.

A proceeding for conservatorship is similar to the process for guardianship. Contact us as it is important to increase the chances of success of the conservatorship and to protect your loved one’s rights and finances.

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Flinn Law Northwest Can Help

Don’t leave your loved one’s care to chance. Although it can be difficult to acknowledge that a loved one cannot make sound decisions for themselves, it’s important that you don’t wait to act. This means taking the necessary legal steps to protect their best interests and protect their vulnerabilities.

We have an understanding for the situation you’re in, and experience navigating the court system. That’s exactly why Flinn Law Northwest is the right choice for you. We can discuss your family’s situation, recommend, and implement the best plan to ensure that your loved one remains protected through a guardianship and/or conservatorship.